Safety of Homeopathic Remedies

This morning I was reading on the NCH newsletter about the incident with the FDA and the product Zicam that transpired last week;

the FDA’s action produced a story distributed by Associated Press (AP) that is full of fabrications and falsely called into question the safety of homeopathic remedies.

As a member of the National Center for Homeopathy (NCH) and an avid user of homeopathy myself, I wanted to bring this to your attention.

Here are some of the false claims and inferences that appeared in the AP story:

False Claim:  Homeopathic remedies are not regulated – they are treated like dietary supplements.
Fact:  Homeopathic medications are regulated by the FDA and have been used safely in the United States since before the passage of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938. Homeopathic medicines have an extraordinary record of safety.

False Claim
: FDA side-effect reports suggest homeopathic remedies are a problem for consumers.
Fact: The safety record of homeopathic remedies over the past 200 years is truly exemplary. A recent study by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP) documents this outstanding record in detail (see the home page at www.nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org for more information). Conventional drugs used by allopathic medicine are far more troubling from a safety standpoint.

False Claim
: The National Institutes of Health’s alternative medicine center spent $3.8 million on homeopathic research from 2002 to 2007 but is now abandoning studies on homeopathic drugs.
Fact: NCH received this assurance from the National Institutes of Health’s alternative medicine center on 6/23/09: “NCCAM will continue to accept investigator-initiated research grant applications for homeopathy and will continue to consider for funding those that receive outstanding scores in peer review.”

False Claim
:  “Very often, the only active ingredient is alcohol, and patients don’t know that, and they get a buzz on. The therapeutic effect is no greater or less than a martini.”
Fact: The overwhelming majority of homeopathic remedies sold are in solid pellet or tablet form and contain ZERO alcohol.

False Claim: In 1938, Congress passed a law granting homeopathic remedies the same legal status as regular pharmaceuticals. The law’s principal author was Sen. Royal Copeland of New York, a trained homeopath. “He did it in such a sneaky way that nobody really noticed or paid attention,” says medical author Natalie Robins.
Fact: Senator Royal Copeland, a major presence in American medicine at the end of the 19th century, rose to national fame when he was elected into the U.S. Senate in 1922. His career was distinguished in many ways, but he is best known as architect of the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act of 1938, the success of which reflected his tireless effort over a period of five years. Copeland was trained as a homeopathic physician at the University of Michigan, at a time when homeopathy was a significant part of the U.S. healthcare system.

False Claim
:  “With arcane ingredients like “nux vomica” and “arsenicum album,” many homeopathic medicines sound like something brewed in a druid’s kettle.”
Fact: Homeopathic remedies are named by their proper scientific designations (often in Latin), an accepted world-wide standard for naming substances, rather than the misleading kinds of names attached to drugs by pharmaceutical companies. For example, “Nux vomica” is the proper botanical Latin name for the nut of a particular tree.

False Claim:
There is no evidence of effectiveness.
Fact: There are literally hundreds of high quality basic science, pre-clinical and clinical studies published in respected journals like Pediatrics, Chest, Rheumatology, The Lancet and others showing that homeopathy works (for more information, please visit the NCH website at http://homeopathic.org/articles/view,173). To claim otherwise is bad science and very irresponsible journalism.

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